UK gender pay gap smallest since reporting began in 2017

UK gender pay gap smallest since reporting began

While four in five companies are still paying women less than men, the median pay gap was the lowest in 2023 since reporting became mandatory.

Since 2017, it has been mandatory for employers with more than 250 employees to report on their gender pay gap. Companies in Great Britain had until 4 April to submit their data for 2023. The government has since released the findings of this reporting, revealing that women are earning approximately 91p for every £1 made by men.

Almost four in five companies (78.4%) were paying women less than men. However the median pay gap of 9.1% was a slight reduction from the previous year. This means the 2023 gap was at the lowest level since mandatory reporting began.

The median pay gap was significantly higher in the public sector, at 14.4%. Almost nine in 10 public sector employers were paying lower salaries to women, compared to around three in four in the private sector.

Fields with a particularly large pay gap were construction (22.8%), finance and insurance (21.5%) and education (20%). Investment bank Goldman Sachs reported its biggest median pay gap in six years, at 54%.

‘We cannot consign yet another generation of women to pay inequality’

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) issued a statement suggesting that more action was needed to hold companies accountable for the wage disparities. General secretary Paul Nowak said: ‘Working women deserve equal pay. But the gender pay gap is still a huge issue. At current rates of progress, it will take more than 20 years to bring men and women’s pay into line. That is not right. We cannot consign yet another generation of women to pay inequality.  

‘It’s clear that just requiring companies to publish their gender pay gaps isn’t working. Companies must now be required to implement action plans to close their pay gaps. And bosses who don’t comply with the law should be fined.’

‘A vital step towards reducing pregnancy and maternity discrimination’

One factor seen to contribute to gender pay gaps is the impact of maternity leave and parenting on women’s careers.

Joeli Brearley is the founder and CEO of charity Pregnant Then Screwed. She said: ‘A significant number of new mums are pushed out of their job because they are seen as less committed to their role or a burden to business. The impact can be catastrophic for women and their families.’

On 6 April the government introduced several changes to employment law. Among these were protection against redundancy for 18 months following the birth or adoption of a child. Also, more flexibility around paternity leave.

Commenting on the changes, Joeli Brearley said: ‘Extending redundancy protections to pregnant women and parents returning from leave is a vital step towards reducing pregnancy and maternity discrimination.’

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) CEO Peter Cleese said: ‘The CIPD has been pleased to feed into the development of these legislative changes which will benefit millions of workers and enable them to better balance their work and home lives, and responsibilities.’

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